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Impacts of the Indian Forest Act

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Impacts of the Indian Forest Act - Lesson Summary

The impacts of the Indian Forest Act of 1865 on the lives of various people:

Most of the basic means of livelihood of the forest dwelling tribes were banned by the British. The daily practices of villagers, such as cutting wood, grazing cattle, collecting fruits and roots, and fishing, were banned and made illegal.

Forest dwelling tribes largely depended on hunting small animals like deer, rabbit and partridge for food. The British also imposed a ban on the hunting of small animals. They encouraged the sport of hunting of wild and dangerous animals like the elephant, lion and tiger, by giving rewards. If anyone was caught hunting illegally, they were severely punished for poaching. Even shifting cultivation, which had been practiced for several generations by the forest tribes, was banned.

Shifting cultivation was an agricultural system in which plots of land were cultivated temporarily, and then abandoned.

Shifting cultivation was banned by the British as the land became useless for growing timber, led to forest fires and also resulted in soil erosion. It was difficult for the British to calculate taxes. The nomadic and pastoral tribes were left with only two options - either give in and change their occupation, or take the stronger path and rebel.

While the Indian Forest Act was passed as a boon to the British, it proved to be a bane for the forest dwellers.

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